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Uma Abordagem "Compacta" para a Lavagem em

Plantas de Branqueamento

A Compact Approach to Washing in Bleaching

Eva A. K. Pettersson
Martin Ragnar
Håkan Dahllöf

( Kvaerner Pulping AB )

Associação Brasileira Técnica deCelulose e Papel

Rua Zequinha de Abreu,27-Pacaembu - São Paulo - SP - CEP 01250-050
Tel 5 5 1 1 3 8 7 4 2 7 0 0 - F a x 5 5 1 1 3 8 7 4 2 7 3 0
www.abtcp.com.br - abtcp@abtcp.com.br
A Compact Approach to Washing in Bleaching
Uma Abordagem “Compacta” para a Lavagem em Plantas de

Eva A. K. Pettersson, Martin Ragnar and Håkan Dahllöf

Kvaerner Pulping AB, Karlstad, SWEDEN


No presente trabalho, apresenta-se uma nova geração de prensa lavadora, a Prensa Compacta.
Argumenta-se que esta prensa é a melhor escolha para a planta de branqueamento atual, tendo em
vista – por exemplo – a alta consistência de saída que possibilita uma barreira líquida entre os
diferentes estágios. Devido ao pequeno risco de incrustração dentro do lavador, o projeto também
permite um fluxo de água bastante baixo. São apresentados resultados em escala industrial da nova
prensa compacta, para polpas de fibra longa e eucalipto, com base nos quais foi feita uma simulação
na planta de branqueamento, usando-se prensas diferentes, incluindo prensas lavadoras e
desagüadoras. A conclusão é de que se pode obter custos operacionais significativamente mais
baixos, em termos de químicos necessários ao branqueamento, para o caso da prensa compacta,
quando comparados à lavagem por prensa desagüadora.

Lavagem, Branqueamento, Prensa Lavadora, Prensa Desagüadora, DQO, AOX, Eficiência de
lavagem, Taxa de Deslocamento


In the present paper a new generation of wash press is presented, the Compact Press. Initially it is
argued that a wash press is the best choice of washer in a contemporary bleach plant, e.g. due to the
high outlet consistency enabling a liquid barrier between different stages. Due to the reduced risk of
scaling inside the washer, the water through-flow can also be designed very low. Mill results from
operations of the new Compact Press for both SW and Eucalyptus pulps are given. Based on these
results a simulation of a bleach plant using different kinds of presses, including wash presses and
dewatering presses, is presented and it is concluded that the operational costs in terms of bleaching
chemicals need is significantly lower for the Compact Press-based bleach plant compared to the
dewatering press-based.

Washing, Bleaching, Wash press, dewatering press, COD, AOX, Washing efficiency, DR-value

Towards the closed mill
Cost efficiency is the alpha and omega of all production. For a bleaching line, cost efficiency to a large
extent relates to efficient washing. Generally, the need for efficient washing is highest closest to the
digester, where the COD content is highest. A low COD content for the pulp entering oxygen
delignification is important for this process. However, also directly after oxygen delignification special
attention should be paid to efficient washing, which here acts as a tool for reducing the environmental
impact of the bleaching as long as the bleach plants remain at least semi-open. Needless to say, in
the bleaching itself the more dissolved organic substance that is present at a given position, the
greater the need for efficient washing. In the brownstock washing as well as in the post-oxygen
washing there is generally a need for two subsequent washing machines. Here it has been concluded
that the combination pressure diffuser followed by wash press gives the most efficient washing [1].
The scope of the present paper is to discuss the proper choice of washing equipment in the bleaching,
where one washer is sufficient between the stages.
Looking in to the future it is not hard to foresee that a steadily increasing system closure will be the
path. The driving forces behind this development is of course sometimes given by imposed regulation
on a limited water through-flow , but there are also plenty of incentives why to decrease the water
through-flow also from purely economical points of view. In fact, steadily decreased water through-flow
in the bleaching is a necessary precondition for the growing size of new mills. For purely practical
reasons, e.g. to avoid scaling inside the washer, the water through-flow in a bleach plant is governed
by the washing machines used.

Several different types of washing machines exist today, including drum washers, atmospheric
diffusers, drum-displacement washers, wire presses, dewatering presses, pressure diffusers and wash
presses, each of these operating according to a unique set of principles but also demanding a unique
set of preconditions in terms of water through-flow, power consumption, feeding consistency etc.
Harper and Grengg have identified a number of important issues to be met by a new generation of
washing machines [2], emphasising on
• improved washing efficiency
• readiness to handle temperatures above 90 °C
• insensitivity towards scaling
• high specific through-put, i.e. a compact machine design

Clearly, a wash press is an attractive choice in this context and when focus is on how to decrease the
water through-flow in a bleach plant it is as easily understood as well established that a wash press is
the choice of the hand [3]. Moreover, also the number of washers largely affects the water through-
flow apart from many other aspects e.g. power consumption, installation cost, space requirement and
operation cost. This in turn is the reason why the development of bleaching is a development towards
shorter sequences, today meaning only 2 stages in fact is well enough for the manufacture of a fully
bleached HW kraft pulp [4; 5] as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. A 2-stage and 2-reactor concept for the manufacture of fully bleached HW kraft pulp.

Wash press versus MC discharging washing equipment

Perhaps the most obvious difference between a wash press and other washing machines is the high
consistency of the outgoing pulp, reaching up to 32–35 % for a press, in contrast to some 10–14 % for
other washers. This means that at a given dilution factor, e.g. 2.0 m³/ADt, the wash water needed in
the press is about 3.9 m³/ADt, while it is 8.6 m³/ADt for a drum washer with 12 % outgoing
consistency. Interestingly, in the case of an open stage, these figures also refer to the effluent volume
from each stage, assuming internal filtrate for dilution before the press indicating one important benefit
of a wash press bleach plant. Steffes has concluded that the effluent volume from a bleach plant
operating with wash presses with 30 % outgoing consistency is less than half that of a drum washer-
based wash plant [3], whereas Stål has reported a range of between 50 and 75 % [6]. This
argumentation is of course only valid for washing between stages, where a change in process
conditions inside the machine should be avoided, e.g. between D0 and E1 and between E1 and D1,
whereas the argumentation is irrelevant for counter current washing e.g. post-oxygen washing or for
the washing between D1 and D2.

So far the amount of water flowing through the pulp mill and being used for various purposes in the
mill before being let out the recipient has often been referred to as “water consumption”. However, this
is a confusing term since it implies that the water is actually consumed in the mill. Better is to use the
term water need or water through-flow.
Apart from enabling a minimised water through-flow a wash press also reduces the sensitivity in the
bleach plant. At up-set conditions a change in outgoing consistency from an MC discharging washer
inevitably results in up-sets also in subsequent bleaching towers. However, a similar up-set in a wash
press with a constant flow of dilution liqour has a significantly smaller effect. The washing efficiency is
also affected in different ways. A drop in the outgoing consistency from a drum-displacement washer
of 2 % causes a reduction of the Total washing efficiency that is 3 times larger that of a 3 %
consistency change on a wash press.

Wash press ≠ Dewatering press

A very important issue in discussions on presses in the bleach plant is the distinction between a press
with and without washing. Both kinds are today available on the market, but both the installation cost
and the operational costs for e.g. bleaching chemicals, resulting from their unlike washing results,
differ. Expressed in a more theoretical way, the difference between the two categories is between a
pure dilution/extraction washing and a displacement washing [2], where the latter apart from pressing
the pulp also adds wash water inside the press. In Figure 2 a schematic drawing showing the
difference between the 2 categories of presses is given.

Wash press
Wash water

Dewatering Displacement Pressing

Dewatering press
Wash water

Dilution Dewatering Displacement Pressing

Figure 2. Principal difference between a wash press and a dewatering press.

Adoption of a washing philosophy with minimal water through-flow will also reduce the costs for
equipment for secondary treatment of BOD, COD and AOX in effluents from the bleaching [6]. It is
today practically feasible to build a kraft mill with a water through-flow of 5–15 m³/ADt. Among others,
Stal has concluded the obvious, that the lower the carry over into the bleaching and in particular to a
D0-stage the lower the AOX discharge to the effluent from the bleaching [6] since the D0-stage is the
one mainly responsible for the AOX formation. Even with extensive use of chlorine dioxide a modern
ECF bleach line can have an AOX discharge of 0.2–0.5 kg/ADt, which is much below the values
discussed in the days of chlorine bleaching. It is sometimes claimed that today’s levels are so low that
no detrimental effect can be seen from these discharges, but it seems hard to understand how the
addition of AOX to the recipient could be beneficial for the environment, why there should be a strive
towards even lower AOX levels also in the future. This is especially true since at the same time as the
per-ton-of-pulp discharges have been markedly decreased, the size of the pulp mills have been
significantly increased, leaving recipients still to handle substantial amounts of AOX. The recently
developed DUALD-stage (D*), performed at high temperature and long time has proven to be one very
efficient mean in decreasing the AOX discharge from an ECF bleaching line, by as much as 50 % [7;
4; 5].

The importance of efficient washing in the bleaching seems hard to overestimate. The question is
rather how to compare the washing efficiency of different washers in a proper way. It has been
concluded that the displacement ratio, DR-value, is a misleading concept to use when comparing
washers with different discharge consistency [8]. In this respect the Total washing efficiency or the

2 COD in out
pulp − COD pulp
Total washing efficiency is defined as Y = expressed as kg/ADt
COD in in
pulp − COD wash liqour
E10-value are much better measures. However, when comparing two washers with the same discharge
consistency, the DR-value is still a powerful and reliable tool, e.g. in the comparison of different wash
presses or of wash press and dewatering press. For example, the maximum theoretical DR-value for
two different wash presses, in which the washing is carried out at 10 and 15 % pulp consistency
respectively, could be compared. Assuming a dilution factor of 2.0 m³/ADt Figure 3 shows the different
flows entering and leaving the wash press, here divided into its three subsequent unit operations,
dewatering, displacement and pressing.


L1 L2 L3 L4
Dewatering Displacement Pressing


Figure 3. Theoretical representation of a wash press and its internal flows.

L is the liquor flow in m³/ADt, where L2 for pulp washed at 15 % consistency e.g. can be calculated to
 1 
L2 =  − 1 ∗ 0.9 = 5.1 m³/ADt
 0 . 15 
The maximum theoretical DR-value is now given by
DR max = 1
i.e. DRmax for a wash press adding the wash water at 10 % pulp consistency is 0.48, whereas it is as
high as 0.76 for a wash press adding the wash water at 15 % pulp consistency. As long as an actual
displacement is taking place in the press, the DR-value will be relatively close to the calculated
maximum. As a consequence, very low or even negative DR-values reported for certain wash presses
[8] in fact tells that actual displacement does not take place.

The consistency is an important feature even in the medium consistency range when speaking about
the efficiency of various processes. A higher pulp consistency means less water to heat, to pump and
a higher chemical concentration at a given charge, which will boost reaction rates. Stål has concluded
that the need for steam to heat the pulp in a bleaching line with wash presses is only about 40–45 %
that of a bleaching line with drum washers [6], which would imply about the same figures also for other
MC discharging washing equipment. Others have discussed the higher flexibility of energy recovery in
a wash press bleach plant and pointed out the feasibility of a real minimisation of the energy need
here in contrast to what is the case in e.g. a drum washer bleach plant [9]. These authors also
emphasised on the energetical drawbacks of a sequence including ozone with its strongly varying
temperature profile. When it comes to chemical consumptions, even apparently small differences, e.g.
between operation at 10 % and at 12 % pulp consistencies in fact have a substantial impact. This has
been concluded in a number of studies in the literature, including e.g. oxygen delignification [6],
chlorine dioxide bleaching [10], pressurised hydrogen peroxide bleaching [11] and bleaching
chemicals in general and the need for acid/alkali for pH adjustments in particular [12]. With a wash
press preceding a bleaching stage a mill can ensure to run at a high and even consistency, whereas
with MC discharging washing equipment up-set conditions always risk that the consistency in the
bleaching will fluctuate and in any case not steadily will be possible to conduct at e.g. 12 %

Washing efficiency
In the literature it is claimed that the washing efficiency of a press is increased with increasing
temperature [2], an observation easy to do in a mill, although from a strict theoretical point of view the
temperature should hardly affect it at all. However, at a higher temperature the operability and
capacity of a wash press is markedly increased, which could be interpreted as an incresed washing
efficiency. In any case, this is an important fact, which is especially beneficial when short bleach plants
of the Compact Bleaching [5; 4] type are considered, since such concepts operate at a high and even
temperature throughout the whole of the bleaching, typically at or above 90 °C.
Theoretically it is easy to conclude that the washing efficiency is increased when performed at a
higher pulp consistency in a post-thickening machine (e.g. a wash press or a drum washer), since the
pulp to be washed then contains less water, i.e. the actual dilution factor in the displacement zone is
higher, leading to a higher DR-value. However, at a certain point the apparent efficiency will reach a
maximum and then start to decrease again. A crucial parameter in the understanding of this
phenomenon is the pressure drop over the pulp bed. Dahllöf and Grén have further penetrated this
area [13].

According to Darcy’s law for an incompressible bed, the permeability, K, is determined by

K =
Moreover, Kozeny-Carman’s equation relates the permeability to the pulp consistency so that
1 (1 − vC )
K =
kS 02 (vC )2
where u is the flow velocity in m/s, µ the viscosity of the fluid in Pas, L the thickness of the bed, K the
permeability in m², k a constant equal to 5.55 for fibre materials, S0 the specific surface in m²/m³, v the
specific volume in m³/kg, C the pulp consistency in kg/m³ and ∆p the pressure drop over the bed in Pa.
Combination of the two relations enables an expression of the pressure drop as a function of the pulp
consistency according to
∆p =
1 (1 − vC )

kS 02 (vC )2
A graphical representation of this relation is given in Figure 4, assuming typical values for the different










0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20

pulp consistency [%]

Figure 4. The pressure drop over the pulp bed increases exponentially as a function of the pulp

The reason to the decreased apparent washing efficiency at a certain pulp consistency is that the
pressure drop over the bed has become too high, i.e. that the bed becomes too compact. This means
that channelling through the pulp occurs instead of a homogenous displacement flow. For the wire
wash press this highest feasible washing consistency has been reported to occur already when
turning from LC to MC [2], i.e. likely to be at about 7 % pulp consistency. Other wash presses at the
market wash at 10 % pulp consistency, indicating this to be the maximum achievable washing
consistency in this machine design. In the Compact Press washing is carried out at a much higher
consistency, i.e. 15 %. To do so in a beneficial and efficient way, many important preconditions are
needed. Special attention has therefore been put into the design of the wash liquor nossles [14] to
enable a uniform wash-water addition to the pulp bed. However, perhaps most important is to ensure
the formation of a homogeneously distribution of the pulp in the horizontal direction over the whole of
the width of the wash press. In the Compact Press this is made through a patented distribution device,
in the form of a screw [15], shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5. The patented distribution screw is a key component in Compact Press.

In the present paper some mill results from the first installations of the new wash press Compact Press
will first be given. Based on these results and values given in the literature for some other modern
washing equipment a simulation of a bleach plant is presented, the results evaluated and conclusions
drawn. Finally some characteristics of the new press are given.

The first Compact Press was installed at the StoraEnso Gruvön mill in Sweden and started up in May
2000 (Figure 6). The fiberline makes SW kraft pulp. Altogether there are now 8 Compact Presses in
operation worldwide.

Figure 6. Flowsheet of the Compact Press installation at StoraEnso Gruvön mill in Sweden.

The Compact Press in Gruvön has operated with an ingoing consistency of 2.5–5.5 % at a production
range between 400–1200 ADt (without reaching the upper capasity limit). With a DF of up to 2.5
m³/ADt a typical value for the outgoing COD has been 3–4 kg/ADt, corresponding to a Total washing
efficiency of ∼95 %. The outgoing consistency has been in above 32 %.

In Figure 7 the flowsheet for the installation of a first Compact Press at Munksjö Aspa mill in Sweden
is shown. The mill makes SW kraft pulp.

Figure 7. Flowsheet of the Compact Press installation at Munksjö Aspa mill in Sweden.

The Compact Press in Aspa has operated with an ingoing consistency of 2.5–5.0 % at a production
range between 300–750 ADt. With a DF of up to 3.0 m³/ADt (half the wash liquor volume is here up of
alkaline bleach plant filtrate), a typical value for the outgoing COD has also been 3–4 kg/ADt. The
outgoing consistency has been above 32 %. In Figure 8 results from the operation in Aspa are shown.
1.00 1.00



0.70 0.90


DR-value (left Y-axes)
total washing efficiency (right Y-axes)
0.40 0.80
1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5

dilution factor, DF [m³/ADt]

Figure 8. The DR-value plotted against the dilution factor for mill operation of a Compact Press in the
Munksjö Aspa mill in Sweden.

As can be seen the Total washing efficiency is in the range 0.96–0.98, corresponding to E10-values
from 5.6–7.2.

In Figure 9 the flowsheet for the installation of two Compact Presses at Daishowa Suzukawa mill in
Japan is shown. The mill makes HW (mixed Eucalyptus) kraft pulp.

Figure 9. Compact Press installation at Daishowa Suzukawa mill in Japan.

At the Daishowa Suzukawa mill in Japan a DR-value of 0.69 has been measured at DF of 2.2 m³/ADt.

As a summary a DR of 0.65 at a DF of 2.0 m³/ADt can be concluded, or 83 % of the maximum DR

calculated in the introduction.

In order to compare the features of a bleach plant based entirely on the Compact Press with bleach
plants using other modern washing equipment a simulation using the computer program WinGems
was performed. The bleaching sequence simulated was that of a typical one in operation today, i.e.
D(OP)DD, as shown in Figure 10.
Figure 10. The simulated 4-stage bleach plant D(OP)DD, here shown as an installation with Compact

DR-value for another kind of wash press, in which the washing is carried out at around 10 % pulp
consistency was set to 0.40, based on assumption of the same relative efficiency (83 %) as for the
Compact Press (with washing at 15 % pulp consistency) compared to the theoretical maximum
calculated in the introduction. In order to make the comparison relevant the COD entering the last
washer prior to the bleach plant to be simulated was set to 62 kg/ADt in all cases. Moreover, it is
important that the comparison is carried out a fixed water through-flow, a parameter which sometimes
has been neglected [17], in fact meaning an argumentation leading away from the closed bleach plant
to a bleaching caring less for the environment. In this simulation a total water through-flow of 11
m³/ADt was utilised.


The results from the simulation are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1. Results of WinGems simulation of a 4-stage bleach plant D(OP)DD with Compact Presses,
with other wash presses and with a wash press in the first position in this simulation (i.e. as the last
washer prior to D0); and with dewatering presses with wash liqour added with the dilution before the
press in all other positions.
ingoing COD to D0 ingoing COD to D1 outgoing COD in pulp
[kg/ADt] [kg/ADt] [kg/ADt]
I. Compact Press 18.8 16.0 1.6
II. other wash press 22.3 18.5 2.7
III. dewatering press 21.1 20.6 3.6

Now, how to interpret these results? Quite obviously the more COD in a certain bleaching stage, the
higher the chemical consumption. Thus efficient washing is an efficient means of reducing the
chemical consumption in the bleaching. In the case of “unoxidised” COD, i.e. carry-over into a D0-
stage, 1 kg of COD has e.g. been reported to consume 1 kg a. Cl of chlorine dioxide [18], although our
experience rather tells that the figure is 0.7 kg of a. Cl in D0-position and 0.5 in D1-position. (However,
when it comes to recirculation of D0-filtrates the effects are much smaller, since the chloride ions
present in the filtrate will react with formed chlorite in a way that increases the utilisation of the chlorine
dioxide charged [19].) In any case, in a situation where the chlorine dioxide capacity is the bottleneck
of the mill, this means better washing could allow also a production increase. In the case of the (OP)-
stage more carry-over here is likely primarily to increase the alkali charge. These results would thus
mean a reduced cost only for chlorine dioxide in D0 and D1 positions (using the lower values for the
COD effect above) of close to 0.5 MUSD for a 400 000 ADt/year pulp mill with Compact Presses in the
bleach line compared to a bleach line with other presses (applicable to both alt. II and III) at a cost
level of 0.30 USD/kg a. Cl and of some 0.9 MUSD at a cost level of 0.60 USD/kg a. Cl for the chlorine

Moreover, when it comes to scaling problems, a wash press shows many advantages compared to
other available washing machinery, e.g. diffusers, drum washer, drum-displacement washers etc.

The apparent benefit of alternative III compared to II is false. The amount of “unoxidised” COD into
the D0 is the same for alternatives II and III, but since the washing after the D0-stage is impaired in
alternative III, a lower portion of the COD is washed out there and hence the recirculated filtrate is
cleaner, thus giving a lower overall COD after dilution.
Precipitation of scales often occurs when the bleaching is operated with low effluent volumes, as a
result of a sudden change in pH or temperature or both. In most available washers this change will
occur inside the washer, making any scales precipitate there, where it is most problematic to take it
away. In a wash press on the other hand, dilution is carried out in the dilution screw, making any scale
precipitate here instead of inside the machine and significantly facilitating cleaning. A schematic figure
showing the Compact Press is given in Figure 11.

Figure 12. A schematic representation of Compact Press.

A very important feature of the Compact Press, which to a large extent explains the excellent washing
results in spite of the relatively low screen area, is the fact that 270 ° of the drums are utilised for the
washing, a feature that has also been patented [20]. This large use of the circle segment combined
with the unique dewatering geometry and the uniform distribution of the pulp over the whole of the
width of the press, means that the Compact Press can be made much smaller than other wash
presses working with a lower angle.

The Compact Press exists in seven different sizes including two different drum diameters, 1.0 m and
1.5 m. The drum length varies from 2.5 m to 5.7 m. The complete program covers a production up to
3000 ADt/24 h.

As the name implies the Compact Press has a compact design and requires very little space. This is
possible due to the excellent performance of the press, relating to the washing being carried out at a
high pulp consistency (15 %), which has been made possible through the patented distribution screw
and the the use of a larger part of the circle segment of the drums. Being a completely new machine,
the Compact Press is also designed for contemporary demands brought forward from occupational
health and safety people upon maintenance issues.

Kvaerner Pulping has a long experience within the field of wash presses in the bleach plant ranging
more than 30 years back in time, with the first installation in 1971 at Billerud, Gruvön mill in Sweden.
Since then complete wash press bleach lines have been built for operation on both HW and SW pulps
and for both ECF and TCF bleaching, the most recent for the moment being built in Ripasa in Brazil,
involving 7 Compact Presses from the digester wash through the screening and oxygen delignification
and until the end of the 3-stage D*(OP)D bleaching sequence. Altogether about 100 wash presses
have been supplied, including some 20 Compact Presses.

For many reasons a wash press is the most attractive choice of washing equipment in a contemporary
bleach plant. Firstly, a high outlet consistency is achieved making the wash press function as a liquid
barrier between stages. This function is important in the bleaching, where normally pH varies from
acidic to alkaline and different temperatures apply to different stages. The wash press thus enables
significant savings of alkali and acid for pH adjustments and savings of steam. A bleaching line with
wash presses also facilitates reduction of effluent volumes since the risk for scaling inside the washer
is reduced. Mill operations of the Compact Press have shown a typical DR-value of 0.65 at DF 2.0
m³/ADt and outgoing consistency above 32 %, resulting in Total washing efficiencies of above 0.95 on
both SW and HW operations. The high DR-value for the Compact Press compared to other wash
presses is a result of that washing is carried out at a higher pulp consistency (15 %), which has been
made possible through the patented distribution screw and the the use of a larger part of the circle
segment of the drums. Consequently, the Compact Press requires very little space.

Katarina Vallhagen is gratefully acknowledged for carrying out the mill balances. Stig Andtbacka,
Lennart Gustavsson, Axel Lämås and Vidar Snekkenes are acknowledged for valuable criticism of the

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